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Investigators Were Not Silent, Following a New Russian Claim on MH17


NETHERLANDS – A part of the BUK-TELAR rocket that was fired on the MH17 flight is displayed on a table during the press conference of the Joint Investigation Team, in Bunnik on May 24, 2018
Nicolas Dhuicq

Nicolas Dhuicq

A spokesman for the Debout La France (France Arise) party

"We are unfortunately living in a propaganda era, when media and the Western establishment are trying to discredit any information coming from Russia. The team that investigates the plane’s downing will be obliged to take into account this new information released by the Russian authorities but the international community will remain silent. They prefer not to speak on a topic where they were wrong. They are and will remain totally silent on a subject. Their silence proves that this information is true and credible."

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The Joint Investigative Team responded almost immediately.

Russia’s Defense Ministry held a press conference September 17 claiming the Buk missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17, 2014, killing 298 people, was made in Russia in 1986 and later transferred to a military unit in western Ukraine. The ministry said that missile never left Ukrainian soil, contradicting the international Joint Investigative Team’s (JIT) findings in May which placed the blame on Russia for the downing of the civilian airliner.

RUSSIA -- Head of the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate of the Russian Defence Ministry Lieutenant-General Nikolai Parshin attends a news conference on the crash of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane operating flight MH17 downed in eastern Ukrain
RUSSIA -- Head of the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate of the Russian Defence Ministry Lieutenant-General Nikolai Parshin attends a news conference on the crash of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane operating flight MH17 downed in eastern Ukrain

​Nicolas Dhuicq, a spokesman for the Debout La France (the France Arise) party, told the Russia state media outlet Sputnik that Western “silence” following the defense ministry’s latest release “proves the integrity of the data.”

Dhuicq, who holds the party's sole seat in the French National Assembly and lists Crimea as his location on his personal Twitter account, added that he “personally” had no reason to doubt Russia’s findings.

On Monday, the JIT, tasked with probing the case, issued a statement saying it had “taken note of the information that has been publicly presented by the authorities of the Russian Federation for the first time today.” The JIT went on to say that it had asked for the Russian Federation to provide “all relevant information” as early as 2014, specifically requesting in May of this year “information concerning numbers found on several recovered missile parts.”​

UKRAINE - People gather near a monument for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane crash to mark the fourth anniversary of the accident near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk Region, Ukraine July 17, 2018.
UKRAINE - People gather near a monument for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane crash to mark the fourth anniversary of the accident near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk Region, Ukraine July 17, 2018.

The JIT said it would “meticulously study” the new material once the new documents are made available, adding that information previously provided by Russia “had proven to be “factually inaccurate,” citing the “alleged presence of a fighter plane in the vicinity of MH17 on radar imagery presented to the public on (at) a press conference in July 2014.”​

Dhuicq would later be quoted as saying that he believed Russia would not have benefited from shooting down the civilian airliner, claiming that the Ukrainian army at that time was very disorganized, while groups “were not under the center’s [Kyiv's] control.”

UKRAINE – Alexander Zakharchenko (C), head of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), and Denis Pushilin (L), representative of “DPR”, attends the commemorative events in memory of the people, who died during the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crash on 17 July
UKRAINE – Alexander Zakharchenko (C), head of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), and Denis Pushilin (L), representative of “DPR”, attends the commemorative events in memory of the people, who died during the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 crash on 17 July

He further expressed doubt the airliner had been brought down by Pro-Russian separatists “because shooting such a missile requires some training and organization."

However, in 2016, the JIT presented the results of its criminal investigation, showing that Flight MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38 series. The missile was fired from a field in the area of Pervomaiskyi, which at the time was controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

In a hastily deleted social media post, separatist leader Igor Girkin boasted some 35 minutes after the downing of MH17 that “the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have brought down a military transport Antonov-26 (An-26) plane of the Ukrainian Air Force on the outskirts of the town of Torez…” The town Girkin reffed to is located 10 miles South-East from Pervomaiskyi, indicated in the JIT investigation.

A screen shot from Google Maps showing the distance from Torez to Pervamaisoke, where MH17 was shot down.
A screen shot from Google Maps showing the distance from Torez to Pervamaisoke, where MH17 was shot down.

On July 23, 2014, Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the separatists, told Reuters that pro-Russian rebels did possess the BUK missile system, adding it could have been sent back to Russia to remove proof of its presence.

In May 2018, the JIT presented new results of its investigation, saying “the BUK TELAR that shot down flight MH17 comes from the 53rd Antiaircraft Missile Brigade, or the 53rd Brigade from Kursk in the Russian Federation.”

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